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On the Causes of Human Degeneracy

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On the Causes of Human Degeneracy


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In this classic 1881 presentation to the Anthropology Society of Paris, Professor Eugene Dally discusses the 4 main causes of human degeneracy: 1) pathological, 2) toxicological, 3) climatic and geographic, and 4) sociological. Dally, the Society's Past President (1875), highlights the negative impact of urbanization, noting that "among the sociological causes of degeneracy, urban agglomerations, whose disastrous effect is so great, stand out," and "it is in the heart of such urban crowding that the most active causes of degeneracy operate with the most intensity." A spirited Discussion period follows Dally's talk, with many members of the Society offering their findings and opinions regarding indicators of human degeneracy (the higher mortality rate of people living in cities, the voluntary sterility of those living in the countryside, etc.).


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Reviewer: gerrykuhn - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 20, 2012
Subject: Extremely thought-provoking!
This is an extremely thought-provoking work. As is the case with all large societal problems, the causes of human degeneracy are multiple, and the impact of each very difficult to quantify. Nonetheless, this work clearly shows the importance of assembling a sizable group of experts to examine a major problem, as one expert may be able to point out to the rest of the group an important cause or solution that no one else had recognized. In addition, it is most interesting to see that the main causes of human degeneracy, as determined in 1881 by Eugene Dally and his Anthropology Society of Paris colleagues, differ only in detail from what they are today.
-- Professor Gerald Kuhn
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